Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

February 21, 2013

In-zone inspections under way

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Parcel-by-parcel building inspection is under way in the Impact Zone.

In two weeks, three building inspectors looked over the exteriors of 73 properties and sent out written notice of code violations to 46 property owners.

Cited property owners will have 30 days from the time of inspection to correct violations or present a work plan to the building department before their cases are forwarded to City Court for prosecution, Chief Building Inspector Jason Dool said.

Because of the timing of the first impact inspections — in the winter “off” season — an exception to the compliance rule is being made for owners of property that needs painting. Through the end of winter, they’ll have until April, at least, to get going on painting projects, Dool said.

The city last month announced the launch of a multi-agency Impact Team Project to cut crime and property blight in most-troubled areas of the city.

Based on a recent, localized spike in police service call rates, the first “impact zone” is the neighborhoods between Erie, High, Transit and Walnut streets.

While Lockport police ramp up patrolling and general law enforcement in the zone, building inspectors giving a visual once-over to every property. About 1,000 single- and multi-family homes, business properties and vacant lots will be inspected by the end of August, according to Dool.

Impact zone inspections are being done in clusters of 35 to 40 properties per week, in blocks rather than street by street. For example, the first week inspectors went over a group of roughly adjacent properties on Orchard Street, Park Place and High Street; last week they inspected a cluster on Orchard, Park Place, High, Waterman and Genesee streets.

The suggestion to inspect property in clusters arises from inspectors’ experiences in housing court over time, Dool said. The thought is that when properties in view of each other are all inspected at the same time and the owners are all facing the same deadlines to fix problems, fewer owners can claim they’ve been singled out for code enforcement.

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